The Cathedral grounds and Pastors Office are now open. Masks are encouraged. Please practice social distancing and avoid gathering in groups.

COVID-19 and Church Events

From Rev. Eric Carswell, Head Pastor
September 29, 2020

Many of us long for the day that we can return to the familiar patterns of life prior to last March. These hopes are somewhat dimmed by the rise in cases in settings where health precautions have been slackened or ignored. I know of a large company that has told its employees that they will be working from home at least through the end of this calendar year.
We have nevertheless scheduled a meeting for November 11 for the society members to respond to the nomination of the next pastor for Bryn Athyn Church. According to our bylaws, we need to have a quorum of 150 people. This past weekend we successfully tested a short-distance FM transmitter that would allow people to come to the Heilman Hall parking lot, stay in their cars, follow the meeting on their car radio and cast written ballots. We can also elect the board members that were nominated for last spring’s Annual Meeting. We are also considering a possible bylaw amendment that would give us flexibility in accomplishing society business during times such as the current pandemic. We will be phoning in advance of the November 11 meeting to help ensure we get a quorum.
We have also been talking about the major upcoming festival services: Thanksgiving, Tableaux, and Christmas Eve. For each of these services, we could not safely, in my opinion, welcome the number of people who normally attend them. For Thanksgiving, we are considering an opportunity for people to deliver a fruit offering to the Cathedral prior to Thanksgiving and then recording a service for people to watch Thanksgiving morning or when it fits their schedule. Our plans include horn music as we’ve had at the Asplundh Field House services in the past.
For Tableaux, we are considering several options including doing scenes somewhat like last June’s drive-by New Church Day event and perhaps a manger scene in front of the Cloisters or even on the chancel for people to visit with appropriate social distancing. Christmas Eve will also likely be a service that people can watch online either at one livestreamed event or at a time that serves them and their family. While we don’t get nearly as large an attendance at the Christmas Day service, we have also considered pre-recording this service for people to watch online. This would allow the staff and musicians family time at home that morning. No decision has been made on this possibility yet.
If you have input on these plans, please contact any of us at the Pastors Office (215-947-6225) or a member of the Pastor’s Council.

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